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Holding my breath and letting go

My latest Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

Fourteen years ago this month, I wrote my very first Life Lines column. It focused on my then-4-year-old son, Noah, and a summer nature program we had attended together and how in his own little way Noah was forcing me out of my comfort zone and teaching me new things about myself and the world around me.

This is what I wrote back then: Read more

In fear I faced the real question: “Why not me?”

I am typically a “Why me?” sort of person — when my computer crashes, when a recipe flops, when I come home from the store without the one thing I went there to get. So you can only imagine how I might kick that attitude up a notch when something significant is at stake. But last week, when my 18-year-old son, Noah, was facing the possibility of serious and permanent heart damage, when we had no control and no way to help him as we watched him suffer through painful attacks, the “Why me?” slowly started shifting to another place. Read more

Prayers for my son, please – UPDATED

UPDATE (3/3/15): Noah’s MRI showed no damage to his heart valves or pumping function due to the inflammation in his heart (myocarditis). He still has a long way to go and is still in the Critical Care Unit, but this is a huge step forward in terms of his recovery. Please keep praying for him — and us. We can feel the prayers of so many people pouring over us. It has made this difficult journey much easier to face.
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Oceans of grace: keeping my eyes above the waves

This is one of those songs that stopped me in my tracks. I happened to have on K-LOVE, when I heard these words sung so sweetly:

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand Read more

Learning to float on the tides of life

I am always amazed by the shifting sands of life. We can be moving along, fairly content, assuming we’re on an even course, when out of nowhere something we hadn’t even glimpsed in our rearview mirror sends us into a tailspin. And conversely, we can be struggling, or just muddling through when just as suddenly some shooting star streaks across our night sky and reminds us that there are miracles all around us. Every day. If our eyes are open. Read more

Truth. Trust. Surrender. No white flag necessary.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program — the “Pray, Love, Then Eat” blog tour for Cravings — to get back to a good, old-fashioned spirituality post.

Last year at this time, I posted about choosing a word for the year, or, more accurately, allowing my word to choose me: “Listen.” Back then I was having a hard time imagining I’d find one word to define the coming months. This year I’m finding not just one but a series of words that have taken up residence in my heart and soul. It started a few months back and has been picking up steam. It started like this… Read more

Learning to let God be God

“God is not God the way we would be God if we were God,” said Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, at yesterday’s Mass for U.S. bishops in Baltimore.

In a wide-ranging homily that covered many topics relevant to the day and our culture, especially in light of the divisiveness evident during the run-up to the recent presidential elections, these particular words stuck in my head. I kept hearing them over and over. Read more

The space between fear and trust

This morning I returned to my beloved early morning yoga class after a very long hiatus due to a physical condition/injury. I won’t bore you with details. Suffice to say, I had and will have for the rest of my life a situation that prevents me from fully doing yoga the way I like to do it.

I was supposed to be starting 200-hour yoga teacher training this month. Instead, my favorite yoga teacher is recommending I learn to be satisfied with taking classes in “chair yoga” and “water yoga.” I’m not good at being satisfied with what I view as “less than,” but perhaps therein lies the lesson. Another thing I really don’t want to hear. Read more

I’ll cross that bridge…

I have a bunch of projects in the works right now that, well, to be perfectly honest, scare the crap out of me. We’re all friends here. I can be honest, right?

Although I can’t say much about anything right now, I’ll tell you this: Every single new work-related thing staring me in the face is going to push me farther and farther out of my comfort zone. And, just to be clear, my comfort zone is the corner of my basement, where I can remain an invisible entity who quietly — and sometimes not so quietly — writes all alone, save for the company of my two cats.

I am perfectly content to be faceless. I don’t need a giant following. I don’t want to get into online arguments with rabid fans. I just want to be. But apparently that’s not what God has planned for me.

Why do I think it’s God behind all this and not my own selfish desires? Because I have had nothing to do with anything that has come my way. I have been minding my own business, going about my mostly anonymous writing, but every week, it seems, I get another email asking me to be part of something I never would have considered for myself. I keep asking, “Is this where I’m supposed to be going?” I guess I’ll never know for sure, but all I know is that I didn’t choose the course. It’s not like I’m sitting here with a Ouija board pushing that little wooden indicator thingamabob toward the answers I want. (Please refrain from writing to me about the dangers and sinfulness of using a Ouija board. I don’t actually own a Ouija board. The image was for effect, but now it’s ruined.)

I keep telling Dennis I just want to disappear, become a hermit. At almost 50 years old, that seems like the more logical path for me. Imagine a little hermit cave at the end of that bridge path in the photo above. I can see myself there quite easily. But, no, that’s not where that little bridge is leading. The other side of my bridge will be filled with traffic and long car rides and occasional plane or train rides, but definitely no cave. And I’m a little panicked over that. Part of me knows I can’t pass up the opportunities, and the other part of me wonders, as I always do when I find myself in this place, why not go get a little job at Hewitt’s garden center? Because that’s not where God keeps pushing me to be, although it’s definitely my Plan B.

For now I’m trying to take it one day at a time and not let things that are weeks or months away destroy my peace today. But I’m not very good at living in the moment. I like living in a moment at least two months, maybe two years down the road. “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” has never been my motto. I like to cross the bridge at least 50 or 60 times a day in my mind so that I’ll be ready when the real bridge is finally in front of me. You can imagine how tiring it gets crossing bridges all day long.

I’ll keep you posted as things progress, but, for now, if you have a minute and a prayer to spare, please put in a good word for me, that I cross the right bridge at the right time, especially if it’s during rush hour.